* Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc., of Mississauga, Ontario, reported that in preclinical trials ALX-0600, a version of the naturally occurring GLP-2 peptide, stimulated intestinal growth and absorptive capacity following removal of portions of the small bowel. Results also indicated the drug reversed weight loss, promoted healing of intestinal inflammation and reduced intestinal permeability. Human trials are slated to begin by the end of the year. ALX-0600 is targeted for treatment of short bowel syndrome and toxic side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
* Axiom Biotechnologies Inc., of San Diego, received an equity investment of $3 million from Jafco Co. Ltd., of New York. The investment allows Axiom to accelerate the development of its High Throughput Pharmacology System (HT-PS) and pharmacoinformatics platform. The HT-PS combines natural cell-based assays, high-throughput automated instrumentation, pharmacoinformatics and biomining tools to assess and prioritize potential lead compounds based on their pharmacological properties.
* BioChem Pharma, of Laval, Quebec, received a declaration of interference from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) related to its HIV drug, Epivir (3TC). The interference involves an Emory University patent, which the Atlanta school said covers 3TC, and a pending application from BioChem Pharma for 3TC. PTO's Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has determined Emory and BioChem Pharma claim the same invention, meaning a judge will determine which patent is valid. Prior to the declaration of interference Emory filed a federal court suit alleging patent infringement against BioChem Pharma and its development partner, London-based Glaxo Wellcome plc. BioChem Pharma and Glaxo countersued, charging Emory's patent is invalid.
* Biocircuits Corp., of Sunnyvale, Calif., closed its doors May 18 after failing to secure additional funding or arrange a sale or merger. All employees were terminated and the company is proceeding with the liquidation and sale of assets.
* BioMerieux Vitek Inc., of Hazelwood, Mo., unveiled Vitek 2, the next generation of technology for microbial identification and analysis of antibiotic susceptibility. Vitek 2 is an automated clinical system that provides rapid test results to assist physicians in the management of patients with infections.
* Cell Pathways Inc., of Horsham, Pa., reported encouraging results in an extension of its Phase I/II trials on FGF-1 (exisulind) in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, also known as adenomatous polyposis coli. The study showed the progressive increase of precancerous polyps that are common with this disease appeared to be stopped by the treatment. In addition, existing polyps seemed to decrease in size or remain stable. The extension study was conducted with 18 patients who continued on FGR-1 for up to 18 months following the original six-month trial
* Diatide Inc., of Londonderry, N.H. presented promising preclinical data on one of its Theratides in retarding lung cancer growth. Theratides are based on Diatide's imaging technology, which combines small molecule peptides known to bind to receptors on diseased cells with a radioisotope. Mice treated with Theratide combining peptides that bind to somatostatin receptors on cancer cells with a beta emitter, rhenium-188, showed a tumor volume increase of 67 percent, compared with an increase of 262 percent in untreated mice.
* Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., adopted a shareholder rights plan to guard against an unwanted acquisition. The company said the move was not a response to any current takeover attempt.